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Berlin for Gays and Lesbians
The gay districts
The most known gay and lesbian district is Schöneberg where the community sets the flag . Not only coffee shops, bars and other institutions but also the snack-bars are decorated with rainbow flags. Here the community is established for a long time in the streets like Fuggerstraße, Eisenacherstraße or Motzstraße.
In the district of Schöneberg exists an excellent infrastructure of information and care centres for gays and lesbians, for example the information centre for lesbians in Kulmer Straße or the helpdesk Mann-O-Meter for gays in Bülowstraße.
The district Prenzlauer Berg is one of the most popular districts among Berlin' s students where the parties always take all night long. Especially in the area between the underground stations Senefelderplatz and Schönhauser Allee many gay and lesbian pubs, bars and coffee bars exist which are very en vogue. The cosy coffee bars Amsterdam and Schall & Rauch in Gleimstraße for example are popular meeting points. Here and in Greifenhagener Straße many nice places can be found like Guppi, Villi's Bierbar or the Schoppenstube, one of the first gay pubs in Eastern Berlin.
The bar Bärenkeller in is a place for elderly gays. The owners also runs the Bärenhöhle which invites also to meet people in a cosy ambiance. The Men's Clubs Greifbar and Stahlrohr open their doors in the evening. Another kind of club is the Sonntags-Club founded in 1973 under the name "Homosexuelle Interessengemeinschaft Berlin" which offers a gay-lesbian youth centre, lectures and temporary exhibitions. In the bookstore Lustwandel - erotische Buchhandlung erotic literature can be bought. In the gay and lesbian store eastside books, jewellery, rainbow articles and videos are sold.
Kreuzberg was famous for a long time for being Berlin's most colourful and whimsical district. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the new won role as an inner city district a period of reorientation lies behind Kreuzberg. Fortunately it did not loose its unique character during that process.
The gay and lesbian scene is primarily centred around Oranienstraße (colloquial: O-Straße) and a part of the Mehringdamm.
Around the Mehringdamm at the corner to Bergmannstraße there are a the Bargelb und the Barbie Bar. The so called Café Sarotti-Höfe is the newest meeting point at Mehringdamm. In this street you will find institutions of the gay and lesbian community combined, such as the SchwuZ, the café Melitta Sundström, the Schwule Museum (Gay Museum) and the aha, a working group of homosexuals. The SchwuZ is dedicated to the gay and lesbian movement since 1977 and sees itself as an open communication centre. In the meantime it has also become a regular of the Berlin club scene, here lesbians, gays, hetero friends and drag queens are dancing the night away to House, oldies or Latin. Into the SchwuZ you will get via the Café Melitta Sundström, which is above. The café was named after the famous and beloved travesty star and is the place to get a delicious breakfast. The Schwule Museum (Gay Museum) is the only one of its kind worldwide. Established in 1985 it gives detailed insights into the changeful history and present of gay living by its various exhibitions, collections and lectures.
The district of Friedrichshain has not necessarily been a popular meeting place of the Berlin gay and lesbian community in the past, but things have changed in that respect in the last couple of years. The main centres are the area around Simon-Dach-Straße and the East Side Gallery.
The HT and the Himmelreich invite you to sip cocktails, before you will hit the dance floors at the discotheques near the East Side Gallery. At the Busche, which is Europe's biggest gay and lesbian discotheque party people are dancing to chart music and disco classics. The Kleine Busche (Small Busche) may be smaller, but is popular all the same.
Next to the "Tiergarten" (district and largest Park of the German Capital) with the new Central Station, the trendy district of Mitte is an ideal place to dance the night away in various dance clubs. As a matter of course there are also strictly lesbian or gay parties, that are taking place more or less regularly. While lesbians have fun at Driven Attacks in the Kalkscheune and the female jungle in the Ackerkeller, gay men will enjoy partying at the Club 69 in the Kalkscheune or at the Klub International. Gays and lesbians who would love to have a night out with their hetero friends are perfectly right at the Niteclub in the Sage Club or in the Café Moskau.